Sunday, August 22, 2010

lived experience of an actor-network in a Phd thesis

Networking a thesis begins to get tiresome when the same recalcitrant keeps wandering off and doing her own thing; endnote really is a pain in the behind.
I do not need this lesson in gathering; working the same damn thing just to keep it at the same point let alone moving forward.
I already know that keeping things the same takes work.
(Ok so it was just a weak moment where i almost wrote that an absence of change maintains a status quo. But please, I deleted that already.)
This week, the laptop battery got to a stage where it wouldnt hold a charge for 20 minutes.
The disc drive wouldnt copy to discs. At least flashdrives are now big enough to cope with the endnote library.
Im having to work on a somewhat lesser life form, having been temporarily downgraded, I am already sufficiently appreciative of the fact that the technology and social are enmeshed.
However endnote is driving me batty.
She doesnt format when i have her programmed to do this. She doesnt do this when i manually ask her to either.
Eventually after a lot of fluffing around, creating a new doc, turning off track changes, unformatting all previous citations, ensuring i dont have any boxes ticked on whatever else the Norton endnote website suggested, she would do them one by one....and then i could move each pretty little citation back to my original document...or so i thought, but no, they dont get added to the reference list.
Damn sulky programme.
I am beginning to suspect either the document is too big for endnote or that endnote is too small/frail to cope with the amount of notes, attachments and references she is holding. Ok so this is no little librarian holding 759 refs and somewhere in the order of at least 400 attachments, plus notes from here to there on almost every one of them, and doing this 24 hours a day for 6 years...what is her problem?
OK i concede perhaps its a hard ask.
How much gravel rashing can i expect to do before she decides to play nicely with me again?
Its really difficult to seduce her back in when i am actually really pissed off.

OK, seems i need to stop working with a large document. Even though this stopped me getting repetitive, and handled the cross overs between contextualising the problem, networking the literature and discussing the sensibilities of actor network theory as well as discussing the praxis of research methodology. The technology is adamant that it can no longer cope.
I will, split the chapters into separate documents...just like it suggests in the endnote help for creating a bibliography from multiple docs...and re-enter all the refs it doesn't remember were entered... a guestimate of a few days...

For some black humour have a look at this for a Dear John/thesis breakup letter

I am not ready to part from the thesis, but endnote could well decide on a parting of the ways.

1 comment:

  1. I note via #phdchat others have a similar problem.
    My previous life as a psych student suggests we blame others when things go wrong and credit ourselves when things work...this fundamental attribution error does not seem to work in this way when i look at my relationship with technology, perversely i blame me for a techy gremlin.
    The library is now twice as big, it includes refs and books and extensive notes.